Saturday, October 1, 2011

My First Plein Air Event or " Outa Bed You Maggots!"

Peak and Lake 12x9 plein air

In August, I went up to Estes Park and hung around some painter friends, some of whom were participating in a plein air event. If you are not familiar with this it goes something like:
There is a time table set up so you bring your panels or canvases to be stamped or authenticated. You then paint on these canvases up until the deadline to turn in your finished pieces. This timeline is variable and can be a couple of weeks or a couple of days.
Athough you may paint a lot of pieces the trick is to pick your best and turn those in. There is usually a limit to how many you may enter anyway. There is a guest judge who picks the best paintings for awards. Of course if the judge picks one of your paintings for an award that indicates an insightful, discriminating expert.
I decided to enter an event in Salida several weeks after the Estes Park event called the Colorado Mountian Plein Air Festival after encouragement from the usual suspects- Sue McCullough and Coni Grant. We painted together for several days.
The underlying theme for these types of events is an opportunity for intense and focused painting for days on end. If you succumb to the pressure ( either self-imposed or peer pressure)it can resemble boot camp. Especially when some painters insist on capturing "alpenglow" -that colorful event when the peaks are lit up by the rosy light of morning. The obvious flaw for me is the time of day- first light hits the peaks early, early morning- or get up in the dark to be at the right place at sunrise.
Alpenglow can also occur at ---- sunset. Unfortunately the sunset scenario is often prone to be clouded up and doesn't afford the same features that are lit up in the morning. So I guess it was worth getting up to see the morning spectacle.
Can't say much for the painting.

We tried to get at least 2 paintings a day. One in the early morning and one in the late afternoon. Midday, when the light is flat, is best used for eating and meditation- ok napping. One day I got three paintings - a personal record! The last one of that day recieved an award even.
Sue, Coni and I all got awards at this show.


Here is a selection of paintings from my plein air adventures.

The Water Sperpent 12x 9 plein air Sponsor Award -Colorado Mountain PleinAir Festival

Morning on the Bend 12x16 plein air

Ridgeline 6 x 12 plein air

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